To Know the Tenderness of Pain

When we are rigid with fear, anger, or hurt— pain that requires action–we want to fight back. Give as good or maybe even better as was done to us.

That is pretty much our human history, be it political elections or world war. We cannot seem to break this habit of my way or the highway.

We might consider bodhichitta, a Sanskrit word translated as “noble or awakened heart.” Buddhists believe bodhichitta is the “genuine heart [that is] inherent in all beings.”

Every. Single. Being. On. This. Planet.

No matter how committed we are to unkindness, selfishness, or greed,

the genuine heart of the bodhichitta cannot be lost.

It is here in all that lives, never marred and completely whole.

(Pema Chodron)

Think of it. Bodhichitta is within us and has been all along, a genuine heart that withstands the tenor of any time and is especially effective in uncertain days, like these.

Bodhichitta may seem too good to believe. Yet, we write story after story about the awakened heart—the flawed hero who makes good. The genuine heart of the bodhichitta may be our all-time favorite plot line.

On some level, we still believe in the soft spot of the awakened heart. The noble will soften the hardened. After all, it does happen.

It took me most of my 64 years to touch my soft spot. Oh, I still rant and rave—even cry–for to live is to know pain but I no longer hold onto it.

Wonder at Waverly 0414

I find Wendell Berry’s “peace of wild things… and rest in the grace of the world.”

Just as a jewel that has been buried in the earth for 1 million years

is not discolored or harmed, in the same way this noble heart is

not affected by all of our kicking and screaming.

A jewel can be brought out into the light at any time,

and it will glow as brilliantly as if nothing had ever happened.

(Pema Chodron)

Eventually, a sliver of light becomes a beacon, sometimes a rainbow, but light nonetheless. In opening my heart with tenderness, I connect with the pain of all other beings.

Equanimity knows no enemies; compassion only kindness. Unconditional love.

(All excerpts are from Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times)

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity in daily doses. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page. 


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